Modesto Christian High basketball standout Reeves Nelson has verbally committed to play for UCLA.
Nelson, a 6-foot-7-inch forward, is considered one of the top junior prospects in the nation. He chose the Bruins over USC, Duke and North Carolina.
"It's pretty exciting," said Nelson, who committed to Bruins coach Ben Howland late Wednesday night. "UCLA is the place I want to be."
Nelson is UCLA's first commitment from the freshman class of 2009-10, but he's familiar with all of the members of the Bruins' current signing class.
"It was kind of a sudden thing," Modesto Christian coach Gary Porter said. "And once he decided, that was it. He wasn't going to wait around."
Nelson has been a starter for Modesto Christian, a perennial state title contender, since his freshman year and was a Modesto Bee first-team All-District selection as a sophomore.
He has come into his own this season.
Nelson is averaging 25 points and 18 rebounds per game, including a 52-point, 19-rebound performance in an overtime victory over Clovis East last Saturday.
Teammate D.J. Seeley, a senior guard, has committed to Cal, giving MC two Pac-10 recruits.
Nelson and Porter were reached between flights Thursday at the Cincinnati airport. Modesto Christian is playing in the Nissan on Nicholasville Shootout in Lexington, Ky. The Crusaders will face Kentucky state power Lexington Catholic on Saturday night.
Once word of his commitment leaked, Nelson said he began receiving calls and text messages from friends, asking if it were true.
"I came to the conclusion that UCLA was the place for me," Nelson said. "It's a great program, and I know a lot of guys in their incoming class."
Porter said he thought Nelson was looking to stay on the West Coast.
"I think that was a factor," Porter said. "Plus, UCLA's a great program. It's one of the best in the country. Reeves is going to fit in just fine there."
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.